Tips to kick-start your Christmas campaign, without any gimmicks or breaking the bank.
Share this article
In the run-up to Christmas, we can expect to see festive propaganda everywhere. Although we would all like to think this is down to good old Christmas spirit, seasonal marketing campaigns play an important role in CRM and driving profits during the final months of the year.
This year, with all the stresses and challenges of COVID-19, it seems Christmas has arrived earlier than normal, and we’re already debating the new John Lewis advert, putting up decorations and working our way through Netflix’s Christmas film genre.
While seasonal campaigns work incredibly well for B2C companies, it can be much more difficult to capitalise on the festivities as a B2B brand…and do so in an authentic way.
First things first: what is seasonal marketing?
The clue is in the name – this method of marketing is creating or adapting a campaign to have a seasonal hook for occasions like Halloween, or most topically, Christmas.
This responsive strategy is an easy way for direct-to-consumer brands to boost sales at times of the year when “consumerism” goes through the roof. But B2B brands don’t often do so well in planning for seasonal events like Christmas and rather than gearing up for the festive rush, they see a fall-off in business.
People’s minds are distracted from work and focused on the holidays ahead, so it’s understandable why may happen, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Think like a B2C brand
For B2C brands, season events form the backbone of marketing calendars. They can often be integral to yearly turnover, and many rely on the increased business in the run-up to Christmas to survive financially in the quieter months.
The most infamous example of successful seasonal marketing in the UK is John Lewis. The anticipation of its Christmas advert every year is a PR dream, even if there is a mixed reaction. And the content is hardly commercial.
The lesson for B2B companies here is– Christmas is so much more than a special offer or sale opportunity. It’s a genuine opportunity to build brand values, affiliation and sentiment.
How to avoid common pitfalls
Although there are certain things you can take from a B2C campaign, there are mistakes you can avoid too.
One of the most significant issues with seasonal marketing campaigns is that they can feel too forced, and the association isn’t natural.
It’s best to examine your company’s peaks and troughs in enquiries and sales when deciding the best seasonal route to go down. If you know that you experience a lull over December, start here – how can you adapt your email marketing, website content and social media messaging (including LinkedIn) to become more visible and drive business over this period?
Simply adding ‘Christmas’ or ‘Halloween’ to a pre-existing marketing idea or website page won’t quite cut the mustard. Make sure you authentically tie your business to the holiday, like a logistics firm creating a campaign around how they safely deliver presents for loved ones.
Even something as simple as sending a personalised mailshot to your customers and partners ahead of the holidays, wishing them well and letting them know exciting company news ahead, will place you at the front of their minds the next time they need to review budgets, or source a product or service.
Idea generation for seasonal marketing shouldn’t be confined to the marketing team either. Organising a brainstorm with employees and senior management across departments can bring fresh perspectives into the marketing mix and help identify the problems that could be fixed through creative communication. It can also improve buy-in across the business and boost morale around a shared goal.
Tracking your success
If this is the first time your business has run a seasonal marketing campaign, it’s essential to track its success against KPIs. This way, you’ll be able to prove ROI and adjust your strategy next time around.
First of all, you’ll need key metrics to measure your success against and to ensure you’re not wasting time and money. Take stock before, during and after the campaign with your metric mind. Comparing the performance of all these points year on year.
It could be monitoring direct traffic to a certain page on your website, tracking social media followers across platforms and engagement rates, or reviewing telephone and email enquiries, for example.
Any lessons you learn along the way can be taken into your next seasonal campaign. There’s no silver bullet here; it really is a case of trial and error before refining your approach and getting smarter the next time around.